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Forget It, Fearmongers: GMOs Are Safe; The Real Problems Remain: Bipartisan Collusion, Right-Wing Extremism, Restrictive Nomination Requirements

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Forget It, Fearmongers: GMOs Are Safe

In his recent op-ed (“Why Label GMOs in Our Food?”, October 10, 2013), Jack Kittredge engages in the same shady, scientifically illiterate tactics that have unfortunately become a halmark of the anti-GMO movement.

The “more and more studies” he alludes to have consistently been found wanting (see the Valley Advocate’s own Caleb Rounds’ take on the matter), and the one study he does bring into focus is vague to the point of meaninglessness. Yes, bacillicus thuringiensis (bt) might show up in our bodies, but unless you provide evidence that it’s at levels that are harmful or that it’s toxic to humans to begin with (it’s not), it’s irrelevant to discussions of public health.

In the next breath we have this gem: “What do [biotechnology companies] know about these products and why don’t they want us to know it? Does it remind you of the tobacco industry?” Ah, a fearmongering twist on the Socratic method. Very nice. Never mind that there remains no evidence suggesting that GM crops pose a greater risk to human health than other food sources.

The [force behind the] labeling push is in reality just one industry looking to saddle their competition (biotech companies) with a regulation that will undoubtedly scare uninformed consumers into the waiting arms of organic food farmers and purveyors.

There is broad scientific consensus on the safety of GM crops. Unless the left wants to take up the tinfoil hats and start marching to the same drum as right-wing climate change deniers, we need to start calling out articles like this one for what they truly are: baseless propaganda.

The Real Problems Remain: Bipartisan Collusion, Right-Wing Extremism, Restrictive Nomination Requirements

In his recent Between the Lines column about the government shutdown (“Corrective Action, October 10, 2013), Tom Vannah misses a few points. Bipartisanship is how we got into this mess. Rightwingers have been against letting working people get anything since time immemorial. Republicans were against the New Deal under FDR in the face of widespread unemployment and, in some cases, death due to starvation.

Obama spends most of his time as president doing the kowtow to these people who simply want to be medieval lords. He established such a history of bowing to their demands that they thought he would surely do it again. Most of the things I do not like about the Affordable Care Act are things that were put into it to placate the Republicans. It will be the only useful thing to come out of this administration, and they want to abolish it after having agreed to it. If they get their way, the minimum wage and Social Security will be next, which will be followed by even more outsourcing of jobs.

The Democrats also helped the outsourcing to take place. We need a party responsive to the average American. While Vannah mentions elections, he does not mention the nomination process, which is where the restrictions are. Here in Massachusetts a statewide office requires 10,000 signatures to get [a candidate] on the ballot! Other offices require less, but they are all excessive. No one is addressing this point.

The excessive signature requirement is the barrier—not campaign spending, not filing enough reports, just getting the excessive number of signatures needed even to get one’s name on the ballot.

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